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Aizome Bedding

Sheets and pillowcases “developed in Japan with dermatologists to give your body and skin a restful sleep experience free of any synthetic materials or irritants.” It is entirely organic and made from only two plants [cotton and indigo] without hidden extras: No polyester, no heavy metals, no micro-plastics, no formaldehyde, no gross stuff.” This bedding eliminates toxic dyes while still giving you color and style. Their blog the-bed-blog has posts about toxic dyes.

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Shop Vustra

100% organic, premium quality shirts for men. “We only use low impact organic dyes, pure, soft at first touch 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and every stitch is organic too! we ensure that our shirts are made with fashion-forward European style and feature the most intricate style details. Our entire collection is made with 100% premium Italian and Turkish organic cotton that looks and feels luxurious. Our collection showcases colors and textures which are carefully developed to provide timeless, elegant and yet stylish options so you can choose to wear fashion with values.”

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Call to Action: New Fragrance-Free Campaign


A few years ago I was interested in doing a fragrance-free camping to raise awareness of fragrance issue and provide resources for people to easily eliminate fragrance from their lives. At the time, I wasn’t able to make that happen because there were other things going on in my life, but I also didn’t have the structure set up to be able to put the necessary information together.

Now with my new Zero Toxics website, I can collect and organize the substantiating documents needed to make a difference. And this past week two things happened that really made me want to make an impact in the world about fragrance.

Scent at the Laundromat

I’ve spent the last forty years living primarily in homes of my own, where I’ve created toxic-free environments down to every detail. But in September 2017 I left my “clean house” to move to California and live with my beloved Larry and his family while we make it possible for his 87-year-old mother to continue to live at home.

This has been a challenge for me in terms of chemical exposures. While I’ve made my needs known and they try to accommodate me, sometimes things happen that just wouldn’t have happened if I were in my own home.

Last week the clothes washer broke down. I was part-way through my laundry and needed to finish. Days were going by before we could get a repair man out, so i made a decision against my better judgement to take my clothes to a laundromat. Laundromats are chancy. I use them only as a last resort. I’ve used them in the past with no problem, but this week the machines I used had some kind of scent that has just been sticking to my clothing.

I have about six loads of laundry that has been contaminated with scent. Slowly I am rescuing my clothes by washing them over and over with EnviroKlenz Laundry Enhancer. Three washes seems to do it, but it’s taken a lot of time, especially since I’m not the only one in this household doing laundry.

But the point is we shouldn’t have to do this. I should be able to do a basic thing like wash my clothes without contaminating them. I think there should be laws that only unscented detergent can be used in laundromats. It should be sold in laundromats instead of scented detergents.

In my household I did get everyone to use unscented All free & Clear . So I don’t have this problem at home. But go out in the world and it’s everywhere.

Scent at the Heart Rehab Exercise Program

Also during the same time period Larry started a heart rehab exercise program as part of his heart attack recovery. Of course I have to go with him, and I’ve decided to exercise with him to protect my own heart.

But the place is full of scent—from coaches and clients wearing scent or using scented products on their bodies and to launder their clothing, to air fresheners and scented soap and scented toilet paper in the bathroom.

I was standing in the scented bathroom yesterday wanting some piece of paper to give them that explains the problem and tells them how to create a fragrance-free facility. I see signs in doctor’s offices around here that say “this is a fragrance-free office” but when I ask them what that means, they don’t know. They can’t tell me what to do as a patient to comply.

This is a lack of awareness, information, and training problem. There IS something we can do about this.

Putting Together a Fragrance-Free Campaign

To really put together an effective campaign I need several things.

  1. I need to know what YOU need and want. If you could wave your magic wand, how would you change things with regard to fragrance? What would the end result be? What are we wanting to accomplish?
  2. I need to define the problem. What types of fragrances need to be eliminated and in what products are they found?
  3. we need language and symbols with which to communicate. “Fragrance-free’ means different things to different people. Fragrances affect different people in different ways. Particularly we all need to know the terms being used and use them consistently and encourage their use.

I’m happy to put all this together to make an understandable and well-documented presentation, and at that point, I’l need you all to spread the word.

At the moment what I need and want is

  • to know your thoughts on what you think needs to be done
  • would you be interested in working with me to put this campaign together

I’m going to be setting up a section on Zero Toxics for this and will be working on it as an open project where you will be able to contribute ideas and feedback.

Today I just wanted to tell you this issue has escalated for me in the past few days from wanting to make an icon for fragrance-free products on Debra’s List so launching a campaign for widespread change.

Especially I want to hear from you if fragrance is a major issue for you and the problems you encounter finding products or getting others to live fragrance-free.

Also please post as a comment any fragrance-free products that you’ve used and are tried-and-true, and any organizations, facebook groups, etc that are addressing fragrance. I want to get this ALL together in one place.

Let’s start right now, right here.

Some existing resources (feel free to comment here on anything in these posts you agree with or disagree with).

MOM GOES GREEN: “Unscented” vs. “Fragrance-free”: KNOW the difference


EPA.GO : Safer Choice Fact Sheet – Fragrance-Free – EPA

PAULA’S CHOICE: Why Fragrance-Free Products are Best for Everyone | Paula’s Choice

SEED BODY CARE: The Important Difference Between Unscented and Fragrance Free

MUSTELA: Fragrance-Free vs. Unscented Products: What You Need To Know

MADE SAFE: Certified Fragrance-Free Products + Your Fragrance

THINK BEFORE YOU STINK: How To Go Fragrance-Free

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Least Toxic Spray Foam Insulation?

Question from Lora

Hi Debra,

What would be the least toxic whole house spray foams to use for insulation. the type you would spray in your exterior walls (and interior?). the type that expand when you spray in walls. my husband just wants to get something from home depot or lowes and i’m really stressing about this and possible off-gassing for years as i have MCS.

What should I use?

Debra’s Answer

Here are some answers to your question that I found online, written by green building experts.

BUILD DIRECT: Is There an Eco-Friendly Spray Foam Insulation?

This post pretty much answers the question with a well-explained NO. However another expert has a different viewpoint

GREEN BUILDING ADVISOR: Are There any “Green” Non-VOC Spray Foams?

This expert asserts that the finished, cured spray foam is NOT harmful to health but the installation of the foam is hazardous. And she admits that some foam is incorrectly installed and therein lies the problem.


Here you will find all the Zero VOC options, both blow-in and batt. Great review with the pros and cons of fifteen options. I think you’ll find your answer here.

That said, readers, if you have any suggestions from your own experience, please post them here.

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Organic Attire

I found this small business at my local Gravenstein Apple Fair. I saw a black shirt with autumn leaves falling whimsically down the front and then was delighted it was made from organic cotton. It’s one of my favorite shirts of all time. This artist-owned and operated business provides their customers “with beautiful and unique clothing made in a sustainable manner. Comfort is also a prerequisite.” Beautiful and comfortable, Yes. This clothing is just that. Much information about their printing methods and materials. Dedicated organic, natural and nontoxic. Clothing for women only.

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Lead-free door knobs

Question from Terry

Hi Debra,

Do lead free door knobs exist?

Debra’s Answer

This is a very difficult question.

To answer this question thoroughly you would need to know:
* the types of doorknobs available
* the materials used to make each type

And then you would need to review each one and choose those that are not made with lead.

Alternatively, you could test each doorknob for lead using an XRF machine.

But neither of these methods are practical.

There are thousands of available doorknobs, and materials disclosure is not required by law.

One man tested all his doorknobs for lead using XRF. After finding out they all tested high, it turned our they were plated with nickel. “The XRF analyzer was seeing through this layer to the lead beneath. Likely this lead would never transfer to our hands, unless the nickel wears through.”

And even if the lead DID get on your hands lead does not go through skin into your body.

BUT if you were to touch a doorknob with lead and then you picked up a sandwich, the lead would get on the sandwich. If you then ate the sandwich, the lead on the sandwich would get into your body and you would have a lead exposure.

So that would be the exposure. You would touch something that contains lead, like a doorknob, then eat some fried chicken and lick your fingers and then you would be exposed to lead.

There’s a great website called “How Products are Made”, which gives the history, materials and manufacturing information on a wide variety of products we use every day. I looked up Doorknob. In the past, doorknobs were made from wood, glass, china, or bronze. Today more doorknobs are made of metal. The most common type of metal is brass. But we don’t touch the brass—doorknobs are coated with various inert metals and electroplated with semiprecious materials.

I could find only one article that expressed any concern about Lead in doorknobs:

And only one website that sells “Lead-free” door knobs. Even though one blogger stated, “lead-free door knobs are readily available,” I couldn’t find them anywhere else but here.

In the forty years I’ve been researching things toxic and toxic-free this is the first time it has come up as an issue. I always just buy whatever doorknobs I like. It’s not the greatest exposure to lead.

Wash your hands before you eat (as you should do anyway because of germs) and any lead your hands may have picked up along the way will be gone.


PureBodyx2-214x300We touch many doorknobs as we go throughout our day, so even if you found and installed lead-free doorknobs in your home, you would still be exposed to any lead that might be on other doorknobs beyond your control.

Once heavy metals enter your body, it is very difficult for your body to remove them.

That’s why I take PureBody Liquid Zeolite every day. This natural mineral is uniquely suited to remove heavy metals. Tiny bits of negatively-charged zeolite act like little magnets to attract positively-charged particles—which include 99.9% of heavy metals, radiation, and organic chemicals–so they can be removed from your body via your kidneys. It’s simple, effective, and affordable.

Learn more about PureBody Liquid Zeolite here…

Puritas Furniture Company

Solid wood slat bedframes made by a small, low impact, family owned woodworking and design studio immersed in and inspired by the beauty of the natural world. ”We believe it is a revolutionary and deeply caring act to support local and regional craftspeople and the communities in which we all live. We strive to provide you with beautifully designed and finely crafted classic hardwood furniture while keeping the footprint low…Our hardwood lumber comes from carefully managed North American forests from producers who follow the strictest standards in order to ensure long term viability through sustainable harvesting and management practices. Our native west coast softwoods are sourced from carefully managed private lands and we can accommodate requests for reclaimed and salvaged wood options as well…We promote the use of non-toxic finishes and healthy environments with our preferred finish being an all-natural, zero-voc combination of beeswax, linseed oil, and pine resin that is not only non-toxic to the maker and the end user, it is also easier on the environment in it’s raw ingredients and production.”

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Dr. Cowan’s Garden

“Nutritious & delicious vegetable powders” made from “organic or beyond-organic vegetables…Some of the healthiest people who ever lived – from Native Americans to traditional Africans – consumed a large diversity of plants. Our vegetable powders make it easy for you to diversify your vegetable consumption…Miron violet-glass jars filter the aging wavelengths of light to protect the vibrancy of our powders for years.” I can’t wait to try these powder made from diverse varieties. How can I resist three-beet powder!

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